Sunday, September 26, 2010

Mama's Divinity

I have never had much success with making candy. I have been scared by the science of it all. Well, my anxiety has been relieved. My husband bought me a digital candy making thermometer and it makes all the difference. If you want to make candy but are scared to....I recommend getting a good thermometer. This is the one I got: 
Maverick CT-03 Digital Oil & Candy Thermometer

Mama's Divinity

1 c. white corn syrup
4 c. sugar
3/4 cup cold water 
3  egg whites 
2 cup chopped pecans
1 teaspoon pure vanilla

In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, stir together the sugar, corn syrup, and water.  Stir only until sugar has dissolved. Do not stir after this point. Cook syrup mixture until it reaches 250 degrees on a candy thermometer, bringing it to a hard ball stage.

While the syrup is cooking, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Once the sugar mixture reaches 250 degrees, carefully pour a slow steady stream of syrup into the stiffly beaten egg whites, beating constantly at high speed. Add the vanilla and continue to beat until mixture holds its shape, approximately 5 minutes.  Stir in pecans.

Using two spoons, drop the divinity onto waxed paper, using one spoon to push the candy off the other.  This may take a little practice because the technique is to twirl the pushing spoon, making the candy look like the top of a soft serve ice cream.  If the candy becomes too stiff, add a few drops of hot water.  You will need to work fast when making this type of candy.
Let sit for 30 minutes and serve.

Recipe source: Paula Deen

Friday, September 24, 2010

Pumpkin Spice and Chocolate Caramel Corn

Hershey's has now come out with pumpkin spice flavored kisses. If you like pumpkin, you have to try these. I found them at Target. If you can't find the kisses for the recipe you can substitute 1 cup of butterscotch chips.

Pumpkin Spice and Chocolate Caramel Corn
1 3.3 oz bag Kettle corn popcorn, popped and all un-popped kernels removed
1 c. dry roasted peanuts (I used pecans)
2 c. unwrapped pumpkin spice Hershey's kisses (about 1 10 oz. bag equals 2 cups)

6 Tablespoons butter
3/4 Cup packed brown sugar
1/3 Cup corn syrup
¼ teaspoon salt

1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Place popped popcorn and peanuts onto a large rimmed baking sheet that has been sprayed lightly with non stick cooking spray.

2. Place kisses, butter, brown sugar, corn syrup and salt into a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir constantly until mixture comes to a light boil. Remove from heat and pour evenly over popcorn and nuts. Gently stir to coat mixture over popcorn. Bake in oven for 30 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.

3. Remove from oven and pour onto parchment paper to cool. Break into pieces and serve. Enjoy!

Chocolate Caramel Corn
1 3.3oz bag Kettle Corn popcorn, popped and all un-popped kernels removed
1 Cup dry roasted peanuts (I used pecans)
1 Cup semi sweet chocolate chips
6 Tablespoons butter
3/4 Cup packed brown sugar
1/3 Cup corn syrup
¼ teaspoon salt

1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Place popped popcorn and peanuts onto a large rimmed baking sheet that has been sprayed lightly with non stick cooking spray.

2. Place chocolate chips, butter, brown sugar, corn syrup and salt into a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir constantly until mixture comes to a light boil. Remove from heat and pour evenly over popcorn and nuts. Gently stir to coat mixture over popcorn. Bake in oven for 30 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.

3. Remove from oven and pour onto parchment paper to cool. Break into pieces and serve. Enjoy!

Recipe source:

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Pumpkin Pecan Pie Squares

Sorry I have been such a slacker lately. I have not been posting because I haven't had the time or energy to cook any new recipes. I have some huge projects that I am working on that are sucking up all my time. Once that is over, I will be better at posting what new recipes I make.

I did have one day this week that I took a break from my projects and actually made a good dinner. These squares were the dessert and they are AMAZING!! So good that they are already gone! I made them 2 days ago. I only had two, if that tells you how much my husband loved them.

Oh, I have to tell you a secret, I found pumpkin at the store!!! I found a few cans of Libby's pumpkin (which is the only kind I will use) at Winco for $2.30 for the big 29 oz. can.

Pumpkin Pecan Pie Squares

1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup old-fashioned or instant oats
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin
1 can (12 fl. oz.) evaporated milk
2 large eggs
2 1/4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
Whipped cream
PREHEAT oven to 350° F.

COMBINE flour, oats, brown sugar and butter in small mixer bowl. Beat at low speed for 1 to 2 minutes or until crumbly. Press on bottom of ungreased 13 x 9-inch baking pan.

BAKE for 15 minutes.

COMBINE granulated sugar, pumpkin, evaporated milk, eggs and pumpkin pie spice in large mixer bowl. Beat at medium speed for 1 to 2 minutes; pour over crust.

BAKE for 20 minutes. Combine pecans and brown sugar in small bowl. Sprinkle pecan topping over filling. Continue baking for 15 to 25 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cut into bars. Top with whipped cream.

Recipe source: KSL Studio 5,

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Chicken Taco Cornbread Wedges with Ranchero Cilantro Drizzle

We liked this recipe but weren't too fond of the tortilla chips at the bottom. The chips were there to make the crust crunchy but we didn't like the texture. If I make this again I will try it without the chips.

Chicken Taco Cornbread Wedges with Ranchero Cilantro Drizzle

Prep time: 20 min
Cooking time: 20 min
Serving size: 6 servings

1/2 cup ranch dressing
1/2 cup salsa verde
1 cup tightly packed cilantro leaves

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
1 tablespoon finely chopped jalapeno pepper
2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
3 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 can (14 1/2 oz.) diced tomatoes with green chilies

1 egg
1 (7oz.) package Martha White® Sweet Yellow Cornbread Mix
1/2 cup milk
3/4 cup crushed corn tortilla chips

1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
3 cups shredded romaine
1 cup chopped tomatoes

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Combine ranch dressing, salsa and 1 cup cilantro leaves in a small food processor or blender. Process until well blended. Cover and refrigerate.

2. In 10-inch Lodge cast iron skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, bell pepper and jalapeno pepper; cook 3 to 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring frequently. Stir in chicken, 3 tablespoons cilantro, salt, cumin, pepper and tomatoes with green chilies; cook 5 minutes. Remove from skillet. Wipe out skillet with paper towel; grease.

3. In large bowl, beat egg. Add cornbread mix and milk; mix well. Place tortilla chips in greased skillet. Pour cornbread mixture over chips. Spoon chicken mixture over cornbread mixture; sprinkle with cheeses.

4. Bake at 400 degrees F. for 16 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cut into wedges. Top with romaine and tomatoes; drizzle with dressing.

Recipe source:

Friday, September 17, 2010

Baked Pumpkin Doughnuts

It's official...pumpkin season is here!!!! The only problem is, there is a shortage of pumpkin. So, if you are at the store wondering where they have moved the pumpkin to or why the shelf is empty it is probably because they don't have any. Due to some weather issues in the mid-west last year it damaged a lot of crops. This growing season was more successful so the problem should be resolved as early as the end of September but be prepared to pay more than you usually would. Or, if you are ambitious you can make your own. I think I might try that this year.
Anyway, I apologize in advance for all the pumpkin recipes I will be posting in the next couple months.

Baked Pumpkin Doughnuts
Serves 12 

2 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup packed brown sugar
1½ tsp baking powder
1½ tsp pumpkin pie spice
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp baking soda
½ cup canned pure pumpkin
2 large eggs
¼ cup milk
¼ cup butter, softened

1 cup sifted powdered sugar
¼ tsp vanilla extract
3 to 4 tsp milk

Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease two baking sheets.

In a medium mixing bowl, stir together flour, brown sugar, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, salt and baking soda. Add pumpkin, eggs, milk, and butter; beat with an electric mixer on low speed until mixed.

Spoon the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip with a ½-inch opening. Pipe onto prepared baking sheets in 3-inch circles. (I used my handy dandy doughnut pans instead of piping.) Bake 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool doughnuts on a rack over waxed paper.

4. Prepare icing: In a small mixing bowl stir together powdered sugar and vanilla. Stir in enough milk to make a smooth icing of glazing consistency. Spoon icing over doughnuts.

*I didn't use the icing recipe listed above, I used this one instead:

Caramel Icing
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
1/4 c. butter, cubed
1/4 c. fat-free milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/8 tsp. salt
1 1/2 c. confectioners sugar 

In a small saucepan, combine brown sugar and butter. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Cook and stir for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in milk. Return to a boil. Cook and stir 1 minute longer. Transfer to a small bowl. Stir in vanilla and salt. Gradually beat in confectioners' sugar until smooth. Immediately spread icing over doughnuts. Let stand until set. It will only take a few minutes to set, so frost the doughnuts immediately after it cools. 

Nutrition Facts
Amount Per Serving
Calories 228.98
Calories From Fat (20%) 44.85
Total Fat 5.05g
Saturated Fat 2.83g
Cholesterol 45.93mg
Sodium 227.57mg
Potassium 98.88mg
Carbohydrates 42.99g
Dietary Fiber 0.89g
Sugar 25.94g
Net Carbohydrates 42.10g
Protein 3.57g
WW Points 5

Recipe source:

Monday, September 13, 2010

Ranch Mac and Cheese

I am always willing to try a new mac and cheese recipe. This one did not disappoint. I was very surprised by the great flavor. It was very easy and quick. You could add a little chicken and broccoli and call it a well rounded meal.

Ranch Mac & Cheese adapted from Taste of Home

1 package (16 ounces) elbow macaroni
1 cup milk
1/4 cup butter, cubed
1 envelope ranch salad dressing mix
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon lemon-pepper seasoning
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Colby cheese
1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
1/2 cup crushed Ritz crackers
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Cook macaroni according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a Dutch oven, combine the milk, butter, dressing mix and seasonings; heat through. Stir in Monterey Jack and Colby cheeses until melted. Stir in sour cream.

Drain macaroni; stir into cheese sauce with the crackers. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Bourbon Chicken

I am not sure why they call this recipe Bourbon Chicken. There is no bourbon in it so don't shy away because you think there is alcohol in it. I have a hard time with a lot of crock pot recipes because they turn out just so so. This one turns out really good.
Bourbon Chicken

2 lb. boneless, skinless, chicken
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 c. apple juice
1/4 c. light brown sugar
2 Tbsp. ketchup
1 Tbsp. cider vinegar
1/2 c. water
1/3 c. soy sauce

Put chicken in bottom of large slow cooker. In a bowl, combine all other ingredients. Pour over chicken. Let it cook 6-8 hours on low. Remove chicken and shred or cut into chunks. Return to slow cooker and stir to combine. Serve over rice with more crushed red pepper flakes on top.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Green Beans with Bacon and Hazelnuts

I was recently given a HUGE batch of fresh green beans that I have now cut and frozen. It took me 2 days to get them all cut. I wasn't sure what to do with them other than steam them. I found this recipe online and it turned out really good.

Green Beans with Bacon and Hazelnuts
Serves 4

1 tsp. canola oil
1 large shallot
1 lb. green beans, trimmed
1/2 c. water
2 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
2 Tbsp. chopped toasted hazelnuts (I used walnuts)
1/4 tsp. salt

Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallot and cook, stirring until starting to brown, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add green beans and cook, stirring often, until seared in spots, 2 to 3 minutes for tender-crisp or 6 minutes for tender. Remove from heat and stir in bacon, hazelnuts, and salt.

1 serving:
100 calories
5 g fat
1 g saturated fat
3 mg cholesterol
226 mg sodium
12 g carbohydrates
5 g protein

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Pumpkin Sheet Cake and the coolest tip ever

So, I was watching Studio 5 a couple weeks ago and they had a girl on that used bean puree instead of oil in her brownies. She said you can use equal amounts of bean puree in place of vegetable oil in almost any recipe.It cut out a lot of calories and fat and adds fiber. I was very skeptical but thought I would give it a shot. I made this pumpkin sheet cake and let me tell you, I honestly couldn't tell the difference. I used great northern beans in place of the oil and they taste just the same. I am totally using this trick in most of my baking recipes that require oil. This girl said to use the same colored bean puree as what you are making. For instance, she made brownies and used black beans. Here is the segment on Studio 5. I am so excited about this!

Pumpkin Sheet Cake

1 (16 oz.) can pumpkin
2 c. sugar
1 c. vegetable oil (or 1 c. bean puree)
4 eggs, lightly beaten
2 c. all purpose flour (I used 1/2 whole wheat and 1/2 all purpose)
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt

1 (3 oz.) pkg cream cheese, softened (I used fat free with good results)
5 Tbsp. butter or margarine, softened
1 tsp. vanilla
1 3/4 c. confectioners sugar
3-4 tsp. milk
Chopped nuts

In a mixing bowl, beat pumpkin, sugar and oil (or bean puree). Add eggs; mix well. Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt; add to pumpkin mixture and bean until well blended. Pour into a greased 15x10 inch baking pan (I use my jelly roll pan which I think is 11x18). Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes or until cake test done. Cool completely.

For frosting, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla in a mixing bowl until smooth. Gradually add sugar; mix well. Add milk until frosting reaches desired spreading consistency. Frost cooled cake and sprinkle with nuts. Yield 20-24 servings.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Campfire Brownie Ice Cream Cake

To simplify this recipe I just made a boxed brownie mix instead of making my own from scratch and followed the rest as directed. The baking time was different from what is listed. I think I baked mine around 20-25 minutes. I used a peanut butter cup ice cream and it was pretty good. I thought it would be great around Christmas time with peppermint ice cream.

Campfire Brownie Ice Cream Cake

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 ounce unsweetened chocolate
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. baking powder
2 large eggs
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. instant espresso powder
1/8 tsp. salt

1 1/2 qts. ice cream, any flavor (I used chocolate chip)

1 cup marshmallow cream
1 Tbsp. water
4 – 5 cups mini marshmallows
hot fudge (homemade, if you’d like)

1. Prepare brownie layer- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan. In a microwave-safe bowl, heat chocolates and butter together in small bursts, just until melted. Stir until smooth. Sift together flour & baking powder. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs and sugar. Whisk in chocolate mixture. Add the dry ingredients, espresso powder and salt. Stir until combined. Spread brownie batter in the prepared pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 15 minutes. Cool completely before continuing with the recipe.

2. Take ice cream out of the freezer and soften for a bit, just until it’s easy enough to mash around and spread. Spread the ice cream over the brownie layer.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together marshmallow cream and water. Stir in 3 cups of marshmallows. Spread the marshmallow mixture over the ice cream. Sprinkle 2 remaining cups of marshmallows on top. Freeze until the ice cream is hard, at least 6 hours- but best overnight.

4. Toasting the marshmallows- If you have a handheld blowtorch, run a knife around the inside edge of the springform pan. Release the latch and remove the ring. Use a very sharp, wide, thin knife to run under the brownie layer to release it from the pan and transfer it to a serving platter. Torch the marshmallows until they’re golden brown. If using the broiler, adjust the rack so the ice cream cake will be 2 – 3 inches from the heating element. Preheat the broiler. Leave the cake in the pan, put it on a baking pan, and place it under the heating element. Broil until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Run a knife around the inside edge of the pan and remove the pan.

5. Serve immediately with a good amount of hot fudge. Freeze leftovers and eat as you wish, for up to one week.
Serves: 10

Recipe source:
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